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Ingrown Toenails: Everything You Need to Know

Ingrown toenails are one of the most common issues we treat at our office, but what exactly is an ingrown toenail? An ingrown toenail occurs when the edge of the nail grows in to the soft skin that surrounds the nail. This is often incredibly painful and can lead to more serious complications if left untreated. While the big toe is most commonly ingrown, it is possible for any and every toenail to develop this problem. There is so much information about ingrown toenails, what causes them, and how to treat them, so we’ve answered some of the most frequently asked questions down below!

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of an ingrown toenail are swelling, redness, pus, infection and tenderness around the affected area. As the affected nail is left to fester, these symptoms can worsen and lead to more serious problems.

What other problems can develop?

The most detrimental complication that comes with ingrown toenails is the spreading of infection. It’s so easy for an ingrown to become infected, and if left untreated, this infection can spread to other parts of the toe and foot. Eventually, infection can spread to the toe bone, leading to an amputation of the entire toe.

How can I prevent an ingrown toenail?

One key to managing ingrown toenails is to prevent them before they even develop. There are so many small changes you can make in your daily routine to minimize your risk. First, you should always keep your nails at a moderate length. They shouldn’t be so long that they make your feet uncomfortable in shoes, but cutting them too short sets your nails up perfectly to become ingrown. You should also consistently wear shoes with a rounded toe box. This gives your feet ample space and doesn’t crush you toenails. Shoes that are too constricting can lead to crowding, and put unnecessary pressure on your toes and nails. Finally, you should regularly check your feet for ingrown symptoms and infection so you can stay ahead with your treatment plan.

Can I treat ingrown toenail at home?

One of the most common and effective at-home remedies for treating ingrown toenails is soaking your feet in Epsom salt. Epsom salt will help to decrease swelling and inflammation as well as draw out any developing infection. We recommend mixing 2 tablespoons of Epsom salt with 1 gallon of water and soaking your feet for 10 minutes. However, if you are diabetic, you should skip this completely and see a professional right away.

When should I see a professional?

Although using Epsom salt can be effective, it is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry. If your pain and redness is persistent, you should make an appointment immediately. Drainage from the infected area is also in indication that it is time to seek professional help. If you are diabetic, you should skip Epsom salt altogether and make an appointment immediately. At our office, we offer same-day appointments for infected ingrown toenails and priority for diabetic patients.

 

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